Combustible dust explosion hazards covered in new OSHA fact sheet

Incidents have caused catastrophic destruction, injuries, and deaths

Posted July 7, 2016

Combustible dusts can fuel a flash fire or explosion when dispersed in a dust cloud. Workers in many industries who handle combustible solids may be exposed to combustible dust incidents that can cause catastrophic destruction, injuries, and deaths. Even materials that do not burn in larger pieces (such as aluminum or iron), given the proper conditions, can explode in dust form. OSHA’s new fact sheet contains information on controlling dust and keeping workers safe.

A wide variety of materials can explode in dust form. Examples include:

  • Fertilizer,
  • Spices,
  • Tobacco,
  • Plastics,
  • Coal,
  • Metals,
  • Epoxy resin,
  • Pharmaceuticals, and
  • Sulfur.

These materials are used in a wide range of industries and processes, such as agriculture, chemical manufacturing, pharmaceutical production, furniture, textiles, fossil fuel power generation, recycling operations, and metal working and processing which includes additive manufacturing and 3D printing.


Everyday OSHA Safety & Health Management ManualJ. J. Keller's Everyday OSHA Safety & Health Management Manual provides "how-to" guidance and tools on a wide range of workplace health and safety issues.


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